The North Atlantic Right Whale is a baleen whale, and is among the three species of right whales which belong to the genus Eubalaena. They are accurately identified by looking closely at their head, which has white calluses. The white calluses are noticeable because the rest of the whale's body is gray or black. The Right Whale has a long arching mouth which starts just above the eye. It does not have a dorsal fin, despite having a broad back, and some have white patches on the belly.
An adult North Atlantic Right Whale weighs about 44 to 77 tons, with an average length of 42 to 53 feet. Their average size is a bit smaller, when they are compared to the species in the North Pacific. The largest Right Whale ever measured was 61 feet long and weighed 234,000 pounds, with the females being larger than the males.. The lifespan of these whales is estimated to be around fifty years, since there isn't enough data on them to be sure. Some are believed to live up to a period of a hundred years.
A Right Whale feeds by swimming with its mouth wide open through a swarm of plankton, with its head almost above the surface of the water. The whales found in coastal waters, particularly during their breeding periods, made them a target for whalers. Because their blubber is less dense than other whales, they would float, making it easier for whalers to collect their blubber without having to haul them onto the ship. The western North Atlantic Ocean is a home to about 400 or less of these whales. Their feeding grounds are in the Labrador Sea, but they migrate to their winter calving areas, which are in Georgia and Florida.
According to researchers, in the eastern North Atlantic ocean, the North Atlantic Right Whale might be functionally extinct (meaning there are no sightings) already, with fishing and vessel strikes being their greatest enemy. These whales interact with other baleen whales, specifically the Humpback whales and Bottlenose dolphins. Their mating is usually done in groups, known as the Surface Active Group (SAG), with each group containing a single female and a few males. The North Right Atlantic whales appear to be much less active when compared to the southern hemisphere subspecies. Nonetheless, this could be because the number of calves and adults that survive in the North Atlantic is significantly smaller. It happens because whalers quickly kill the calves due to their curious and cheerful nature.
Due to the change in climate, the whales have been severely affected. The warm oceans affect sources of food for the whales, making it hard for them to survive. Their primary source of food is tiny invertebrates like larval barnacles, krill, pteropods, and copepods. Their food competitors are Minke whales and Sei whales, though it's a peaceful competition, sometimes even swimming close to one another.
Even though whales are very huge, they are regularly caught by whalers in fishing nets. The Right whales even got the name from the early whale exploiters who referred them as the 'right' whales to catch for whale oil and meat. Up-to-date the whale’s biggest threats are entanglement in fishing nets, climate change, separation of calving regions and, ship collisions. Any threat to the North Right Atlantic whales has become significant due to their small and slow growing population.